It’s getting hot-again!

The heat is building here in Southern Arizona. I know I’ve said it before, and I will most likely repeat myself in the future, but…I hate the heat. I am clinically heat intolerant. Thus, the arrival of the heat is a bad thing for me. It makes me grumpy, lethargic, nauseous, and constantly in the mood to move to Alaska.

One thing hubby and I do when it starts warming up is to stock the freezer with an assortment of ice cream products. We will keep it stocked until November. There is nothing like a frozen yummy at the end, the beginning, or the middle of the day during the summer.

We headed into the grocery store, quickly found the frozen foods area and spent at least ten minutes deciding. We bought three kinds of ice cream, two tubs of orange sherbet, a box of banana pops, a bag of cherry-mango pops, and a popsicle variety pack. Topped it off with a can of whipped cream, Irish Whiskey, and Baileys Irish Cream.

Well balanced. Agree?

We have a spa that is not heated during the summer and it is so refreshing when the temp is 110. Chuck planted a bunch of trees around the house over the years, which is great shade during the summer. Most are at least 20 years old and huge. When the thermometer rises, we tend to stay inside all day unless necessary. Kind of like northern states do during the winter snow storms. I am a water drinker all year round, but when it gets hot I regularly drink 2-3 liters of water a day. I generally don’t want anything but water.

Millie and our new GSD Jake (Millie’s brother) have staked out their resting spots outside. Jake lays on the the front porch. I guess the brick is cool in the shade. Millie lays in the back, which is a large shaded porch. They are content to nap, that is unless a rabbit or cat comes in the yard, then all bets are off.

So all you followers up north, remember me during your nice cool days. I will be jealous.

Cheers!

-N

PS The Expanse was renewed for a third season! Awesome.

 

Red pen edits and dog sitting

Greetings you awesome blog followers!

I just got my manuscript back from time spent in the hands of my awesome beta reader and let’s just say the red ink was flowing. But it’s a good thing for the story and the writer. Some of the best responses are “what did this mean?” or “that came out of the blue” or “who is this talking about?” will give me the chance to look with fresh eyes at what I wrote.

I was told my writing skills have improved since my last book which is great to hear. The red pen noted discrepancies, inconsistencies, and just plain old punctuation and grammar errors that eyes too familiar with the story can miss.

So…it’s time to put the writer cap on and dive into this story with new eyes and fresh motivation. The history this tale delves into is fascinating, and curiously enough, quite timely in certain aspects. My fictional humans are living in a tempestuous and challenging time. Gotta get it right!

20161002_1741211For the past four days we’ve been baby sitting Millie’s brother Jake.

These two German Shepherds eat a lot, play rowdy with each other, forget they are not lap dogs, love ice cubes, and whine in exactly the same way. It’s been good for her to have another canine to patrol the acre with, to bark at the neighbor dogs with, and all the other dog stuff.

She has enjoyed it and rather than him being the alpha (which is his nature) Millie has shown Jake 20161002_1745131how to live in our house. He has mellowed since his arrival, learned he has to sit to come in the house, and is sleeping later. Hey, she lives with adults.

He is a handsome fella, with a deep powerful bark, and lots of energy. I’m pretty sure she will miss him when he leaves today.

Hope he can come over for play dates.

Is there a special dog breed your family loves? We are GSD people.

Cheers!

-N

Productive authoring!

This has been one of my most productive writing days in a while. I really knocked it out of the park today. Characters talking, acting up, being bad, and essentially being real fictional humans. Got that?!

My two big rewrites are done, bam!

And if I do say so myself – I did a great job on them. It’s cool being a writer and getting so wrapped up in the story you start talking back to your characters. Twice I actually said out loud “Oh no you are not going to say that!” It was glorious.

I don’t know how others do their editing but mine is done with written notes and post its on a printed manuscript. This is rev#3.

flame-edits

I have two scenes that need elaborating, but other than those most of the edits I have to finish are grammar and punctuation. Hope my beta readers are ready for this story.

Tomorrow night hubby and I have two tickets to see Cabaret at Centennial Hall on the University of Arizona campus. Its a Broadway touring show and I am very excited to experience it up close.

We will be very busy next weekend with a big yard sale, and at the same time babysitting Millie’s brother Jake. It will be interesting since Jake is a big, gorgeous, alpha German Shepherd. His temperament is very different from Miss Millie who has been raised by two adults. I hope the siblings get on okay, since she is a bit intimidated by him. Damn, most people are intimidated by Jake even though he is a very nice boy.

Sometime in the next few weeks I will have some wonderful news to share but not yet. Patience.

Time for a glass of good wine.

Cheers!

-N

A new toy

I’m using my new toy. A Samsung tablet. It’s taking a bit of time to get used to it but it is a nice bit of fun. It’s sort of like a phone, but its not. I’m not expecting to replace my laptop with it. It is more to replace my Kindle which is starting to get a bit weird. So here we go breaking it’s blog cherry!!

I’m sitting on the back porch with my coffee, listening to the birds being noisy eaters as they swarm the feeders as I enjoy a few minutes of cool morning air.

A hummingbird is guarding the feeder from his spot in a nearby tree, so the wife can eat. We’ve had so much rain there are mosquitoes around. No sitting outside in shorts!

I’ve finished checking my historical manuscript and now it’s time to put in the  corrections. I have four rewrites including a scene I had to cut and start over. It is also directly related to another part of the story so some continuity checks are in order.

I’ve been keeping a notebook and pen by my bed recently since I’ve had several ideas popping up at night. Some for my contemporary story and some brand new things. Love when stuff just shows up.

Millie is patrolling and I need more coffee so I’m handing this blog off to you fine followers.

Cheers!

-N

Yep, I did it again!

As is obvious, I have changed my page format. The last one seemed to be hard to read, difficult to navigate and seemed to scream at me every time I looked at it. I promise I won’t change it again, soon.

Bloggerverse citizens, how often do you change your page? I like the simplicity of many of the blogs I follow, so rather than suffer from blog envy I am tweaking (not twerking) my page theme. You know-going for that respectable author thing. What ever that is?

Hubby is going to be out of the house tomorrow for a several hours so I will be glued to the computer pounding out pages of the new story I am about 60 pages into. I have a ton of research to do on post civil war reconstruction-glorious. David McCullough said the interesting thing about history is when it was happening no one knew how it would turn out. Writing, research, music, wine and chocolate-note to self, have to remember to let Millie out to do her business.

A fun way to discover the history of our country is with a “National Parks Passport.” Chuck and I started with the small one and once it was filled we moved to the larger binder. It is a great way to see the country and find places you would never normally visit. 20160429_135443

When we know we are taking a trip we pull out the Passport and see what is nearby and plan our trip with these places in mind. As a history geek, I have learned so much about places in Nebraska and the Dakotas I would never have known about.

You can purchase the large binder or small book at the visitor center, usually near the stamp/sticker kiosk. What you do is head to the visitor center at a National – Park, Memorial, Historic Site, Battlefield, Reserve, etc., find the Passport kiosk (ask if you don’t see it right away) and there you will be able to stamp your passport page with a date/time stamp that has the name of the place you are visiting and now you have a permanent memory. You can also purchase a beautifully made sticker specific to the location. We have been to places so off the beaten path the date on the stamp had to be changed and the stamp pad re-inked. 20160429_135349

I remember once Chuck and I were heading into a visitor center in the Chiricahua National Park and just before we got there these two boys hopped out of their car and raced each other to the kiosk. That gave me the idea of purchasing them  as baby gifts. I’ve several young friends I’ve given them to who’ve let me know they use them all the time.

It is a very good way to discover the amazing places in the USA and appreciate the lessons we need to learn. Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas is a place every American needs to visit.

I told Chuck we should be Passport travel guides and have our own show. Right? I mean, come on we have this thing down and it would so feed my travel bug.

So my blogger friends do you have any special way you make your travel plans? Do any of you use the Passport?

Cheers!

-N

Learning as I go

This whole self-publishing and self-marketing thing is a world I’m trying to fit into. Searching and researching what others have to say, what they’ve done and what’s worked takes lots of time. I know I will grow with this as I work at it and find success. It is a challenge I am enjoying, but it often feels I am spending a lot of time and thought delving into this process and not on actual writing.

I’ve run an Amazon price promotion on my eBook and once the print book is out on Amazon I am planning a promotion that links print purchase with a eBook discount. What have been your experiences with these types of promotions?

So…time to jump back into my current work in progress. Time to happily wallow in my fictional world with some side trips to my blog.

My twitter peeps have been terrific in following me, and my word press blog followers are adorbs. Just loving the idea humans want to read what I write in this computer letter.

I’ve shared in previous blog posts about my sweet Millie and how she stays with me while I’m working. Sometimes she will get up, come over and nudge me for a head rub, then lay back down. Here is a candid photo my hubby took of us today.

It’s us doing what we do. me and millieGosh I love that dog.

She is so pretty, smart and still very playful. A funny thing about her is she loves water, especially sprinklers and when we use the sprayer on the hose. She bites at it, barks at it, and runs through the water getting soaked. She does the same thing when it rains. Our last GSD didn’t like the water at all.

Her 1st birthday is in June so I’m thinking we need to have a party! What do you think? Will you join us for a blog party?

A question for you writers and authors out there. What do you do with your notes, print-outs and book proofs when you are finished with them? Do you keep everything together or just hold onto a few things. Do you only save the computer files? Just curious what you feel is necessary to hold on to.

Cheers!

-N

Wine and whiskey

Today started so nice and mellow. A cup of coffee on the back porch while watching the birds swarm the bird feeders, and chase each other around chirping brightly. Chuck repeatedly tossed a toy for Millie who loves the daily morning fun. It really was rather dreamy and chill for the three of us.

I am refurbishing some metal outdoor chairs with new paint and padded seats, very Pinterest of me, so a run to JoAnn for vinyl for the seats was in order. I already had purchased the paint so this would give me all the supplies I need to begin.

While out we also had to make a stop at Planet Scuba on First Ave. to drop off two unused BCD’s for consignment. In case you don’t know what a BCD is, it is a vest divers wear that holds the pressurized air tank and can be inflated/deflated to create neutral buoyancy underwater-buoyancy control device. Hopefully they can sell them for us. It would be great if we can get back to diving more, it is fun but we haven’t been able to do much of it. BCD’s are easy to rent from a dive shop, especially so if you are on an out of town dive trip. It is much better than trying to pack and check with the extra weight. My mask, regulator and fins are personal to me, one is fit to my face-no leaks, one goes in my mouth-not sharing that one, and one fits my feet perfectly. The rest of it I can handle renting.

After these two stops we were right across from Total Wine at Wetmore and Oracle in Tucson so it made sense to stop in for wine and whiskey. Chuck also picked up some cigars. I was trying to find a really good red wine and out of the corner of my eye I saw a young man who was at the Bordeaux tasting a few months ago and I knew he was well versed in reds. So I took off to find him. A sales person asked if she could help me and I told her who I was trying to find. She said, “That’s Justin. Let me call him.” In just a moment here he came.

After telling him what I was looking for he directed me to an Italia20160414_122841n, a Spanish and an Argentinian. He was so helpful and attentive, so I asked him if I could take his pic for my blog and explained I would be sharing about my day. He said sure and so here is Justin. Should you visit that location and need assistance he is the man for you. Not only is he knowledgeable he is cute too.

Love the long hair!

At the check out we were helped by a very fun and cool woman named Megan who approved of the bitters we bought and confirmed our impression of Justin. We left with a box full of spirits and the joy of meeting two very nice humans.

It was a fun day.

Cheers!

-N

So ya’ll, let’s talk

Well it appears life went on while I had my head wrapped up in stuff. Stuff, that’s all I can say to describe it.

Chuck’s interview went okay, he felt positive and now we wait and see.  I hope they call him. He is still putting the applications out there. He and I cleared my office library of most of my books. I only kept my research materials and the fiction hardback book shrine. Chuck’s Clive Cussler and Louis L’Amour, and my Janet Evanovich and P.D. James for example. They comfort me.

The big bookshelves are moving out and I will make a sewing corner in here. It really will be my woman cave!! I will have writing, music, books and sewing. The wine cabinet is around the corner. He may never see me again.

I ordered the proof copy of my book and look forward to seeing it and making sure it is the best it can be. Looks like it will be available for sale by the first of May. When that happens dreams come true. I will post a link at that time.

We had dinner Friday with Rick and Jayne Kelly, our long time neighbors, at Bubb’s Grubb (yes it is a real place and so Catalina.) We’ve watched each others kids grown up. It was so relaxed and fun, and Jayne and I decided it needed to happen more. The weather was starting to change, cooling off and sprinkles, which makes Jayne and I very happy. She and I are both cold weather fans. Before you say anything about us not knowing what cold weather is Jayne is from Minnesota and I lived in northern Japan and North Dakota. It is just our nature, and we commiserate when it gets hot here.

Saturday was a day spent running errands, cleaning around the property and enjoying the cool temps. Millie rode around with us for most of the day and when we stopped into Rawhide Feed store in Catalina for finch seed, she sat very well next to me while Chuck shopped. Some people came in the door and I heard “there’s a live animal.” The said they were on a scavenger hunt and one thing they had to do was pet a live animal. As they petted her they took pics for proof. I asked if they would email me the pics for the blog but I haven’t heard anything from them. If I get the pics I will post them.

Saturday night was spent watching my hillbilly buddies on “Mountain Monsters”. I freakin’ love those guys. They make me laugh out loud at their antics. I would love to crash through the woods following Wild Bill and Huckleberry.

Sunday started out very relaxed with coffee on the back porch, then we went to worship at Casas Church. The music was amazing and while the pastor was talking it started to rain, and I’m talking a roof pounding deluge. It was so cool. The rest of the day it rained off and on and when our friends Bob and Kim Violette came over for dinner, we sat eating, listening to jazz and the rain. Perfect.

Filled the bird feeders, had coffee and did some yard work. Now I’m at the computer.

So ya’ll. Tell me what you did this weekend. Now, here we are dear readers. I changed my page theme this morning. What do you think?

Cheers!

-N

I’m awake

Damn insomnia strikes again! Of course the worst thing to do is sit in front of a computer absorbing all that bad electronic light into my tired brain. But I’m tired so I’m stupid.

I have been writing nearly all day (at least 8 hours with church, meals and wine thrown in) so by about 8pm the letters started to be blurry with my glasses, and I was making mistakes. It was time to stop for the night. I didn’t watch the Oscars (never do) so I had no TV to bore me to tears and zzz’s. My preferred programming is interesting and would keep me awake, so pass on those.

I talked to Chuck around 9pm as he was getting ready to sleep in his hotel bed after driving from Dickinson ND to Cheyenne WY (500 miles.) He has a very pleasant, warm sleepy voice which is seductive for slumber.

Well that didn’t help either.

Did my night time bathroom routine (I know you want to know this) and got in bed. Comfy and cozy I decided to read for a while to get drowsy. I was losing my place, forgetting what I’d read and dropped the book a couple of times so that was a clue to turn out the light. That was around 11:30pm.

I then proceeded to toss and turn for the next two hours. It is now 1:58am.

I am now confronting the demon insomnia with words which are truly my best weapons. Millie wasn’t too pleased with my roaming the house and turning on lights. She grumbled at me in between yawns but has dutifully followed me and is now laying on the floor by the desk. Good Millie.

Cheers! (Yawn-I hope)

-N

You did it again!

To my wonderful blog followers I want to say “You like me, you really like me!!!”

Thank you so much for making this my best viewer day so far. It feels great and also extremely motivating.

It’s so cool 20150202_205314to do something that is personally so much fun and to have people who are interested come along for the ride.  Yay for all of us bloggers!! I am humbled by my connection with you and that I can share my take on humans as we share this planet.

Millie and I are ready to keep blogging.  Thanks again.

Cheers!

 

-N